Last Tuesday, Jean and I attended a special dinner engagement here in Colorado Springs. It was one of those gala events that required us to leave our boys with a sitter for the evening. Like most parents, we have a touch of apprehension about leaving our high-energy boys for several hours in the care of another person. And yet, taking comfort from the fact they were in good hands with this particular sitter, we kissed them goodbye and headed out the door.
Pause there for a moment. I need to fill in a few background pieces of information for this story. Last weekend Jean purchased a couple of chemistry kits that were on sale at Hobby Lobby. One of the kits contained a number of interesting gizmos designed to capture the imagination of the user, including a set of mini-jumper cables. Since we didn’t need the cables for our particular experiment, we left them and the unused science kits on the kitchen counter.
I should also mention that Trent is our resident scientist. His mind is ever-active, always inquisitive, and quick to explore how things work. Naturally, he and Troy enjoyed the time we spent doing one of the experiments together about as much as I did. As their dad, I absolutely love watching them discover new things and expand their imagination.
After all, it was Albert Einstein who once said, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” I’m all for letting them test their ideas—within limits, naturally.
Fast forward to the Tuesday night dinner party.
Jean and I were walking into the dining hall when Jean’s phone buzzed in her purse indicating that a message had arrived. Neither of us had heard the phone ring above the commotion in the room. Glancing at the phone number, she saw it was a call from home. She quickly retrieved the voicemail hoping everything was okay on the home front. It turned out to be from Troy—our seven-year-old informer! Troy said:
“Hi Mommy, Trenton actually was dumb enough to get the battery that I put my tongue on the mini-jump cables—and actually plug it in the DVD player and it caused smoke! But don’t worry . . . it did not start a fire. This is Troy and, by the way, Trent did it—okay? Okay. Have I been specific enough? Okay, bye!”
After making sure we knew Trent was the culprit, there was more. Drawing out his words as if to amplify the effect, Troy added the following with a heavy dose of glee:
“Oh, besides, don’t . . . go . . . easy . . . on . . . Trent!”
Aside from the fact that we were glad the boys were okay, that the house hadn’t burned down, and that it wasn’t an emergency requiring us to jet home, we thought Troy’s message was hysterical. When we ultimately got home, however, Trent wasn’t in a laughing mood. In fact, he was hiding in a shelf in Troy’s bedroom! He thought for sure he was in big trouble. Of course, it didn’t help that his “angelic” younger brother kept telling him that he was going to be in really BIG trouble.
It took us about twenty minutes to find Trent and another twenty-five minutes trying to convince him that we weren’t mad at him. Maybe next time I need to be more clear about the fact that it’s okay for Trent to conduct his experiments—but ideally not on his younger brother!